Praise for diversity on eve of controversial visit

Multicultural organisations have sung praise for Victoria's cultural diversity on the eve of a controversial talk by anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders.

Multicultural Affairs Minister Nicholas Kotsiras said Mr Wilders's views were wrong and misinformed.

"Mr Wilders is opposed to the religion of Islam, not so much to the people, and he believes Islam has no place in democratic society which I believe is wrong."

Mr Kotsiras said while he supported freedom of speech he did not support the incitement of violence.

"We don't support the incitement of violence, the incitement of hatred and we have legislation in place that covers that. But we are multicultural and we are proud of it, we have embraced it over many years and are a prime example of how it can work."

The Q Society is funding Mr Wilders's Australian speaking tour, which will involve a talk in Sydney and Melbourne.

A number of groups are planning protests to condemn Mr Wilders's views.

Islamic Council of Victoria executive committee member Mohamad Tabbaa said racism was an "outdated and destructive force".

Victorian Multicultural Commission chair Chin Tan said the Dutch MP was creating disharmony by casting aspersions on Muslims.

"He should be very careful that he does not take it any further [so] that it prejudices the law in this country and the expectation of what we here in Australia value."

Q Society spokesman Andrew Horwood said up to 600 people were expected to attend Mr Wilders's talk in Melbourne on Tuesday night.

He said more than 30 venues had cancelled hosting the event and the location would remain a secret until later tonight.

He dismissed claims the group was racist.

"We are talking about a religion, we are not talking about a race, we believe we should welcome people around the world, but when they arrive here we ask they obey Australian law."

But he said Islam did not "fit in" with Western democracies and posed a threat to Australian laws and culture.

"We have asked Mr Wilders to talk about what is happening in the Netherlands to plan for the future."

Former immigration minister Chris Bowen granted the Dutch MP a visa in October, but said his beliefs were wrong and offensive.

This story Praise for diversity on eve of controversial visit first appeared on The Age.